Mullaslin trio, the Ward Sisters, will join a host of country music stars from Ireland and beyond to perform at Armagh City Hotel next month for a fabulous night of music and entertainment in aid of Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke.
However, for these talented sisters and their family, their journey to where they are now has been touched by sadness and heartbreak.
In March 2013, singers Caryn, Colette and Cait and their sisters Sarah and Claire lost their mum, Geraldine when she suffered a stroke. She was just 50 years old. For such a young family, the heartbreak was immense.
Caryn, who was just 21 when her mother died, explained: “Mum was suffering from a sore throat and she began deteriorating really quickly. She was literally getting worse by the hour. I had just come home from University and my younger sister Cait was studying for her GCSEs. We had to get an ambulance to rush her to hospital. It turned out to be pneumonia and the doctors said that because her lungs were so bad, she was at high risk of a heart attack. She was put on a life support machine .
“But because of this, it was not possible for them to detect the stroke that she suffered. Music was such a big part of mum’s life.
“We sang at her bedside as she passed away on March 28, 2013. And although it was heartbreaking, there was something really special about that time too. But after mum passed away, our music died too.
“We just didn’t have the heart to keep singing. It was only at mum’s first anniversary mass that our dad, our rock, encouraged us to sing a song for mum. “Dad has always encouraged and supported us to pursue singing so we decided to do it. We sang ‘Near The Cross’ for mum, a beautiful bluegrass American country song. From then, things just changed. We found our voices again and have been singing ever since.”
Four years on the Ward Sisters have released a song in memory of their mother. The single, ‘Momma’s Teaching Angels How To Sing’ can be downloaded on iTunes.
You can see the Ward Sisters perform live alongside a host of special acts including Dungannon star and NICHS ambassador Malachi Cush at Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke’s Country Concert on Tuesday, May 9. Tickets are available now and cost just £20 and can be booked online at armaghcityhotel.com or via Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke’s Fundraising Department on 028 9032 0184.